urban land institute predicts millennial return to the suburbs, along with transformation of residential and retail space
Television viewers catching old shows of the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet may think they are watching a quaint version of a forgotten America, but a new report suggests in one important area that program will soon prove more relevant than ever.
Increasingly, members of the Millennial Generation, as they reach their mid to late-thirties, are going to be moving into suburban locations, replicating the world once celebrated by Ozzie, Harriet, David and Ricky Nelson.
So predicts the Urban Land Institute’s just-released Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, which says the Millennial move will drastically impact suburban development and construction patterns.
“No one will argue that urban revitalization received a tremendous boost from the influx of Millennials into urban cores around the United States,” says the report.
But as the Millennials grow older, they are expected to follow the patterns of earlier generations, perhaps most particularly the World War II generation in the 1950s, as they head for the suburbs.
This means that up to 80 million people in the coming decade will be transforming the suburbs into thriving destinations very much resembling the urban cores they are leaving.
“The traditional attractions of the suburbs—larger homes, good schools, and lots of green space—have not changed,” says the report.
But what is proving different this time around is a greater demand for access to mass transit, and walkable neighborhoods in “proximity to shopping and entertainment.”
The new suburban trend will also mean more single-family and multi-family construction in those areas, as well as commercial space.
“Retail follows rooftops, so retail development to meet the new residents’ requirements will follow,” the report continues.
The new retail development will see less of an emphasis on shopping malls and big-box stores as individual retailers and chains reduce their footprints while also trying to balance a brick and mortar presence with an online presence.
The report additionally identifies the challenge of both suburban and urban areas trying to find more affordable housing for residents, noting a need for up to 4.5 million such rental units in the next decade, which works out to around 325,000 new units every year.
By Garry Boulard
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